A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
I heard water running in the bathroom this evening. I went to investigate. The sound was coming from the toilet. I had a moment when I thought I could just head back to the kitchen and let the sound fade into the background and feign ignorance if someone pointed it out to me.
Instead, I decided to do the tiniest possible thing: I jiggled the handle. The handle stayed in the "jiggled" position as water continued to run into the tank. I moved the assortment of knick-knacks, our Sonicare toothbrush charger, and miscellaneous magazines that had been crammed into the rack hanging off the side of the toilet tank. When I took off the lid, I could see the water running into the overflow pipe, and the float continued to rise as the tank filled past the water line.
I lifted the float, hoping that the valve would shut off the water flow, and I could return to the living room and safety. Alas, the end of the float arm had snapped off and was hanging on to the pivot without the capacity to push the valve down to stop the water. I did not panic. I turned the water off to the toilet and drained the tank. I removed the four screws from the top of the arm assembly and took out the valve, arm, and float.
Now I had a handful of broken plumbing and a toilet that was no more fixed than when I first wandered into the bathroom. I tried the quick fix with Krazy Glue. No success. At 8:45 on a Saturday night, the options for purchasing new plumbing fixtures were extremely limited. I looked back at the pieced I had taken out, then at the toilet that was now sitting quietly without any trace of running water. Problem solved. Well, almost solved. That's when my son showed up with his carefully lettered sign: "Out of Order" in blue marking pen.
We'll figure the rest of this out in the morning. For now, we are thankful for that second bathroom.